Earlier today,  a 9/11 tribute came on the radio and had me in tears.  Like most around the world, I remember that day all too well.

I remember walking into my high school English class, seeing the lights out and a TV on.  First I thought we were watching a movie in class, but sadly, nothing I was about to watch was fiction.   A room of stunned 14 year olds sat in silence as we watched the towers collapse.  We’d heard stories of Pearl Harbor but had never encountered tragedy on that scale.  In that small North Carolina classroom we watched the world and our way of looking at it change forever.

I remember frantic calls to my dad, who worked in New York City at the time.  It was dinnertime before I got a reassuring call from my stepmom that he had gotten on the last train out of the city and was on his way home.   My stepdad’s twin brother was in the process of moving into a new office in the second tower.  We didn’t learn until the next day that by some stroke of grace he had gone  to his old office that morning.  One of my uncle’s best friends wasn’t so lucky.  Neither was one of my mom’s good friend’s husband.

Eight years later, it’s still hard to fathom.  I now understand both more and less about what I witnessed on a small TV that September morning.  I think it speaks volumes to our government and national security that we have not had to endure anything like it since then.

This somber anniversary also helps me to put things like losing my job in perspective.   Like I wrote yesterday, I’m alive and I’m free.  And proud – today and everyday – to be an American.